STRP Biennial 2017 Translation


I was asked to improve the English translation of the STRP Biennial 2017 event description . View the original Dutch version and the first English draft by a native Dutch speaker here.


STRP Biennial 2017 Theme: Senses & Sensors  


The theme of the 2017 STRP Biennial, ‘Senses and Sensors,’ is all about perception. Senses and Sensors will explore how we perceive ourselves and the world around us by delving into the many ways technology alters and stretches the boundaries of our perception.

According to Kevin Kelly’s newest book The Inevitable (2016), ‘Interacting’ is one of twelve deep trends that are poised to shape our technological future. He defines three subcategories of development that will push future interaction: more intimacy, more immersion, and more senses. Increased intimacy posits that technology will become even closer to us than the phone or wristwatch, both by virtue of proximity and by being perpetually on. Increased immersion refers to “computation so close that users are inside it,” like a second skin. But Kelly sees the greatest potential for impact in the realm of increased senses:

“We will keep adding new sensors and senses to the things we make. Of course, everything will get eyes (vision is almost free), and hearing, but one by one we can add superhuman senses such as GPS location sensing, heat detection, X-ray vision, diverse molecule sensitivity, or smell. These permit our creations to respond to us, to interact with us, and to adapt themselves to our uses. Interactivity, by definition, is two way, so this sensing elevates our interactions with technology.” From The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly, Viking 2016

Through the integration of extended senses and sensors, we will have the power to perceive the up-until-recently invisible. This includes small molecular or nano-technological elements and larger phenomena, like radio waves and the far reaches of the Milky Way. On the one hand, we will begin to register deeper layers of reality on a more profound level. On the other, we will be surrounded by realities that are more and more virtual.

STRP Biënnale 2017: Senses and Sensors explores the contemporary high touch of high tech. We will zoom in on the extensive intermingling of the biological and the technological, the physical and the virtual, the analog and the digital, touch and tech, man and machine - all from a cultural perspective. We will bring together artists, designers, coders, and hackers who are fascinated by the complex processes through which we perceive the world and whose works, full of sensory technologies, are designed to play on our senses, altering and disrupting our perceptions. This year, interaction and immersion will be in the spotlight. STRP 2017 will stimulate audiences to push the boundaries of their imaginations in order to make way for new perceptions of reality.

Our human senses are the natural departure point for this exploration. Neuroscience and biotechnology have never been closer to unearthing the complex workings of our senses, thus they are able to influence them more artfully now than ever before. In art as well as in technology, there has been a resurgence of interest around the multisensory experience. Besides the natural ‘biosensors’ we all carry within us (including Aristotle’s classic five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste... plus pain, balance, heat and electromagnetic radiation detection) we are increasingly surrounding ourselves with technological sensors - in and on our bodies, but also outside of it. These new sensors respond to our needs in more refined, complex and attuned ways, opening up worlds we’ve never before seen.

The STRP Biennial 2017 will focus on the implications of sensory experiences that lie beyond the primary perceptible qualities of touch, smell, sound, appearance, and taste. How can and should we deal with omnipresent sensors, cameras that record our every move, and the more subtle delusions that seep into our lives through smart products? How can we maintain a sense of personal control and free choice when it comes to the alteration and manipulation of our senses? How do we, literally and figuratively, make more sense of technology?